When Katherine Margaret Paláu Hernández and Mitchell Brunson went on their first date, they were instantly smitten. “As soon as we started talking, I knew we were going to be best friends,” remembers Mitch. “We met for lunch and ended up spending the whole day together.” When the time was right, Mitch asked Katie’s parents, as well as her grandmother, for their blessings to propose. Not only was he welcomed into the family with open arms, but they also assisted him in shopping for a gorgeous engagement ring and his future mother-in-law Maggie helped him plan the perfect surprise proposal. 

Though Katie and Mitch live in Detroit, Michigan, they spent the spring and summer at the bride’s family residence in Pasadena, California, to quarantine together during the pandemic. Since they were in such close proximity for the months leading up to the engagement, it was a group effort to keep the at-home proposal plans a secret. In order to get Katie out of the house so the residence could be transformed with décor, Mitch whisked his beloved away on a staycation in Santa Monica. Though Katie admits she thought this would be the moment he would propose, she dismissed the idea when their two friends and her brothers – who were quarantining with them – joined for dinner. 

Little did Katie know, the overnight getaway not only allowed for décor arrangements to be made in secret, but it also provided the opportunity for Mitch’s parents and grandmother to fly into Los Angeles and meet her family for the first time. “The most important part of the engagement for me was having my entire family present,” shares Mitch. Of course, he was thrilled and appreciative to have Katie’s family involved in the proposal plans, but having his parents and grandmother present was especially meaningful as they hadn’t seen each other for quite some time due to the Coronavirus. 

The day after Katie and Mitch’s romantic trip to the coast, they made their way back to the house as Katie was under strict instructions to be back home by 1PM for a special family lunch and to get photos taken with her grandmother. However, she was in for something even more special. As the couple walked through the front door, Katie was surprised by delightful melodies played by a solo guitarist in the foyer. Mitch then led her to the backyard and down the walkway over the swimming pool that had been lined with golden blooms to a remarkable gazebo structure that marked the spot for the proposal. 

As their families and two dearest friends watched from inside the house, Katie met Mitch beneath the exquisite structure, which was embellished with ivory drapery tied with bright orange florals. Petals in the same lively hue were sprinkled on the tile floor as Mitch got down on one knee, resting on a white pillow emblazoned with their monogram in orange embroidery. He asked Katie to marry him with a stunning round diamond engagement ring, and of course, she said yes. Filled with post-engagement bliss, the bride-to-be was surprised yet again when she saw both of their families cheering and celebrating together. 

An alfresco engagement luncheon inspired by a famed restaurant along the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, was planned to celebrate the newly betrothed. Guests found their seats atop upholstered chairs surrounding one single table adorned with an ivory tablecloth. Centerpieces showcased vivid tangerine-hued dahlias, roses, and textural vines, as well as fresh oranges in footed glass bowls. Each guest’s place setting featured a mint-and-gold charger plate, gilt flatware, and bullion-rimmed glassware. A menu in cheerful tones topped each setting, as did a linen hemstitch napkin embroidered with the couple’s monogram and a single vibrant bloom. 

In addition to Italian-inspired cocktails and tasty passed hors d’oeuvres, everyone enjoyed an exquisite five-course meal including cacio e pepe pasta, a steak entrée, and a summer peach crumble for dessert. In the true fashion of the moment and in order for everyone to stay safe throughout the celebration, custom face masks embroidered with the duo’s first initials in a delightful seafoam hue were provided. As the Champagne flowed throughout the day, the happy bride- and groom-to-be savored spending quality time with loved ones, along with unforgettable toasts. 

Katie and Mitch will never forget their engagement surrounded by family – something they have always cherished, yet take to heart even more so on account of the world’s current events. As the pair is in the midst of planning an October 2021 destination wedding in Mexico City to honor the bride’s heritage, they’re excited to celebrate with not only their closest relatives who were present for the proposal, but also 400 invited guests for a highly anticipated, all-night fiesta with everyone they love.